‘The Music Man’ charms audience of all ages
When I had no choice but to take my 22-month-old daughter, Emily, with me to watch "The Music Man" Saturday night, I asked myself, "How in the world am I going to write a review, when my time will most likely be spent watching her and not the show?"
My question was answered almost as soon as it was asked. During the few minutes before the show started, Emily was looking for something to do catch lightning bugs, pull grass, flirt with the people seated around us. But when the traveling salesmen walked onto the stage and the music started playing, she sat down and watched smiling from ear to ear.
Well, I might get to watch a few scenes, I thought. Emily lasted through intermission of the opening night show a good hour past her normal bedtime. She started off in her toddler-sized chair but was soon up and dancing to the wonderful songs of the musical "Trouble," "Seventy-Six Trombones," and her personal favorite, "Pickalittle."
Around her, adults of all ages were tapping their toes and nodding their heads to the music. Laughter and smiles were common. Obviously, the show was entertaining to the youngest and the oldest audience members.
I watched the second half of the show on Monday night. Granted, it was an unusual way to watch the musical, but I wanted to see it all. And it is worth seeing, thanks to the Baldwin City Theater and its hard-working cast and crew.
The story is based in the early 1900s in River City, Iowa a time when the traveling salesman brought wares beyond the common general store to towns large and small. And one of the most convincing is Professor Harold Hill, played by Mike Boring of Lawrence. Hill is "The Music Man," selling instruments and uniforms and convincing townspeople that a band will keep their youth out of trouble. However, Prof. Hill has no experience of the sort, and according to fellow salesman, Charlie Cowell played by Knute Pittenger of Baldwin gives the salesman trade a bad name.
It doesn't take long for Prof. Hill to have the citizens of River City wrapped around his finger including the skeptical Marian Paroo, the town librarian and music teacher, played by Beth Rea of Lawrence. She happily ignores him at first. But what's a musical without a love story, and love eventually finds the two.
There are so many parts of the musical worth mentioning the characters, the costumes, the set. I laughed so hard at River City's school board. Even in 1912, the board members bicker over everything whether it's school related or not. I laughed just as hard at the tongue-tied Mayor Shinn, played by Mike Swan of Baldwin, and his eccentric wife Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn, played by Jan Cooper of Lawrence.
Dozens of children playing the youth of River City add to the fun of the family-oriented musical. The costumes were colorful and authentic. The set which included River City's town square, a train, the library and the home of Marian Paroo made you feel like you were in the turn-of-the century town. An orchestra, led by Ed Lammers, provided the musical background.
It all comes together for a timeless story and songs you'll find yourself humming or singing the next day. Boring, as Hill, doesn't falter in his character's catchy, but challenging songs. Rea, as Marian Paroo, has a beautiful voice that carries to the back row of the audience. There's a quartet the school board that could fare well beyond the musical.
Speaking of the audience, it was a full house Saturday and Monday nights. Audience members sat in lawn chairs and on blankets. The Baldwin Band Boosters are providing the concession stand at the musical.
"The Music Man" continues with shows at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday on an outdoor stage west of the Baldwin City Post Office. Tickets at the entrance are $7.50 for adults and $5 for children. Advance tickets, discounted $1, are available at Santa Fe Market, Whitney's Creative Hair Designs, Baldwin State Bank, Baldwin Lumber and Hy-Vee in Lawrence. Thursday is a family night with tickets priced at $5 for adults and $3.50 for children. If rain cancels a show, a performance will be added tonight. The musical will be signed for the hearing impaired Friday.
Cast of The Music Man
Traveling salesmen Matt Keller/Dan O'Connell, David Masurd, Pat Pouliot, Steve Wintermantel, Erich Timkar; Charlie Cowell Knute Pittenger; Barbershop quartet Matt Keller/Dan O'Connell, David Masurd, Pat Pouliot, Steve Wintermantel; Conductor Bob Martin; Harold Hill Mike Boring; Mayor Shinn Mike Swann; Marcellus Washburn Todd Hayworth; Tommy Djilas Shane Goldring; Marian Paroo Beth Rea; Mrs. Paroo Joanie Bauman; Amaryllis Lynne Lammers; Winthrop Rye Musgrave; Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn Jan Cooper; Zaneeta Shinn Nandini MacMillian; Gracie Shinn Laura Pouliot/Madeline Roger; Alma Hix Dar Welborn; Maud Dunlop Heather Ballinger; Ethel Toffelmier Candace Jones; Mrs. Squires Susan Pouliot; Pickalittle and townspeople Lisa Carson, Paula Donohue, Chris Eichhorn, Joanne Eichhorn, Diane Franklin, Kerry Jarosoak, Sharon Magee-Minor, Mary Moore, Diane Pittenger, Debbie Winstone, Karen Wray; Young ladies Katie Beall, Sarah Bezek, Mikaela Carson, Deyonna Cornelius, Erin Marie Jansen, Stephanie Minor, Emily Pouliot, Laura Pouliot, Skye Reid, Jessie Thorup, Jessica Tyree, Amelia Wilson, Michelle Wray; Young men Levi Moore, Michael Pouliot, Evan Wilson, Chris Winstone; Teen ladies Jessica Brewer, Mindy Brown, Ariel George, Stephanie Jarvis, Michelle Pressgrove, Cori Thompson, Stephanie Winstone, Sheila Zook; Teen men Drew Bolt, Richard Jarvis, Paul Minor, Aaron Story, Taylor Thorup.
Orchestra: Conductor Ed Lammers; Woodwinds Betty Bullock, Kendal Butler, Stuart Dorsey, Elaine Lammers, Marti Schonberger; Violins Susan Jarvis, Charlene Potter, Tonia Salvini, Anna Kraxner; Trumpets Bill Funk, Corkier Hedlund, Bob Laushman; Cello Kay Brandt; Trombones Aaron Drumright, Cathy Sutton, David White; Bass Bill Butler; Piano Mary Barbush; Percussion David Ludwick, Danny Wellman.
Production: Director Dan O'Connell; Producer Kathy Davis; Producer intern Lari Gray; Musical director Ed Lammers; Vocal director/accompanist Mary Barbush; Choreographer Stacy Carrington; Assistant Rachel Buckley; Design artist Joanne Eichhorn; Store manager Cindy Goldring; Stagehands Chris Eichhorn, Knute Pittinger, Aaron Story; Sound Bill Davis, Jim Wright; Lights Katie Baldwin; Master builder Heather Ballinger; Construction crew Jim Ballinger, Joanie Bauman, Bob Bezek, Jessica Brewer, Bruce Brown, Dan Carson, Danielle Carson, Lisa Carson, Mikaela Carson, Marion Constantinescu, Jan Cooper, Tim DeMott, Susie DeMott, Morry Dixson, Bo Jansen, Candace Jones, David Jones, Nandini Macmillian, Pat Pouliot, Martha Wright, Deb Winstone, Stephanie Winstone; Painters Jessica Brewer, Drew Bolt, Danielle Carson, Lisa Carson, Mikaela Carson, Brad Danler, Shane Goldring, Nick Goldring, Kerry Jarosoak, Kerry Martinez, Sharon Magee-Minor, Stephanie Minor, Pat Pouliot, Susan Pouliot, Jessica Tyree, Cassie Pahcoddy, Skye Reid, Deb Winstone, Karen Wray; Costume creator and coordinator Linda Ballinger; Assistants Nancy Brown, Jan Cooper, Anita White, Deb Winstone; Hat designer Anita White; Assistant Linda Ballinger; Children's coordinator Susan Pouliot, Sue Brown; Baker University student assistants Lashon English, Julie Johnston, Amy Kirkpatrick, Amanda Lytle; Makeup/hair Martha Wright; Assistant Mary Moore; Props manager Susan Jansen; Assistants Susie DeMott, Kim Thorp; Signing for the hearing impaired Susie DeMott, Susan Jansen; Tickets Lari Gray; Photographer Kim Hubbel; Assistant Lynne George; Publicity Bill Gray; Concessions Baldwin Band Boosters; Guild coordinator Robin Miller; Financial coordinator Kerry Martinez.